Court for naughty parents

PARENTS could soon be hauled in front of magistrates if their child wreaks havoc in the classroom.

PARENTS could soon be hauled in front of magistrates if their child wreaks havoc in the classroom.

Mums and dads across North Somerset may find themselves in hot water if youngsters misbehave for their teachers or turn up to lessons late.

Under plans announced this week, they will be asked to sign up to school rules before they have applied for a place for their child.

If the youngster then breaks regulations on attendance or behaviour, their parents could be taken to court by the local education authority.

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Plans for the scheme, which would start in September, are currently out for consultation.

Priory Community School headteacher Neville Coles is treating the proposals with some scepticism.

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Mr Coles said: "Anything that improves behaviour and conduct is a good thing.

"However, most parents are already very responsible and work closely with schools in ensuring high standards.

"Priory parents are very supportive already so we are not totally convinced that this is the way forward.

"I would be against forcing parents to agree to a dubious 'contract."

Each school would have its own set of policies according to the plans from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Once parents have been taken to court, officials could then make a parenting order forcing them to make their child follow the rules.

Schools minister Diana Johnson said: "Pupils, parents and staff share the responsibility for making sure that bad behaviour does not disrupt learning.

"To do this parents need a clear understanding of their child's school's expectations of them both.

"By clearly setting out the rules and expectations from the outset, everyone knows what they have to do."

The scheme is designed to help parents recognise the importance of complying with policies once the child has been accepted.

If it goes ahead, it would apply to applications for North Somerset school places made from this autumn.

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